Small children have no common sense at all, something that most of them will grow out of, unless they run for office. So when my five and three year olds come to me sobbing, because they've conceived an elaborate game involving huring a small, hard ball at the stairs and catching it (some of the time) , as it races back at their faces...except on the cruel and inexplicable (not more than one time out of two) occasions in which it whacks them in the eye...and tell me that it *hurts* when the ball hits them in the eye, and how could anyone have predicted that this might happen, Mommy understands.
In fact, she's got a solution - they could...gasp!...stop throwing the ball at the stairs. The children are stunned, and appalled at the ridiculousness of this solution. Throwing the ball at the stairs is fun!! Why on earth would Mommy ever think that the problem is inherent in the activity, rather than that one, mean ball that swung back and whacked Isaiah in the eye...? What horrible spoilsports Mommies are, they tell me, and, properly united in their contempt for my solution, go off to malign me for not letting them do anything fun.
The reason mothers don't actually eat their young (tempting thought it occasionally is) is that we know their brains simply haven't developed enough yet to apply things like reason and common sense. They simply lack maturity. And most of the time, they are so cute that it is hard to mind too much. Most world leaders, on the other hand, are not cute, but seem to suffer from an intellectually stunting medical condition that one would think would unfit them to lead anything larger than a small goat.
Politics, seen through the lens of motherhood, looks remarkably stupid. So, for example, the hardly surprising news that Saddam Hussein would have taken a big wad of cash and gone into exile http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=484162 seems merely another depressing bit of evidence that the world is run by idiots. Duh - you mean the mass murdering tyrant (let me clarify - I refer to Saddam, here, not *our* mass murdering tyrant) would rather have taken a billion dollars and gone to parties in Paris than been hunted down in a filthy hole, tried and killed by a vastly superior military force? Shocking, really shocking. You mean we didn't have to spend a ton of China's...er...our money blowing up Iraq to bring "democracy"? Next you'll be telling me that some Washington insider, like Alan Greenspan has admitted this had something to do with oil!?!
I'm not much more impressed by the discussions of how to get the carbon out the atmosphere. For example this: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/worldnews.html?in_article_id=484162. Let's see...it might take CO2 out of the atmosphere...or it might flood the atmosphere with additional CO2 now locked up in the ocean, potentially rushing us towards an environmental tipping point. Certainly, up until now, we've done so very well playing with technological solutions whose long term effects we simply don't understand...let's just go with another one and see what happens.
Why is it when I read about solutions to climate change that I feel like I'm listening to my children explain why the problem isn't throwing the ball, its the mean old ball's habit of misbehaving - and we could just persuade it to stop. The solution to climate change is this - stop burning the damned stuff. Not easy, especially if you really like the games you've been playing. But it is the answer.
But then, what do Mommies know?